Well, after Alex Smith popped up on my blog post about Moving Pictures, and announced a Moving Pictures tour in July, I couldn’t resist asking him for an interview! And happily he obliged.
Welcome to the blog, Alex.
Tell us about the beginnings of Moving Pictures. How did the band get started?
I had been singing in bands around Sydney for quite a few years,singing blues,soul, jazz, r&b and rock.
I had started writing songs and began to think about a line-up that could play them as I heard them. Ian had been in a band called “This side up” with me and I knew I wanted him. He brought Paul Freeland into the mix. I heard Charlie playing with The Great Dividing Band … and kinda poached him and moved into his house. I had known Garry through a girlfriend of mine, I thought he was out of town fruit picking BUT he turned up at our guitar audition and that was it. I had gone to high school (St Ives High) with Andy and we had been in bands together since we were twelve! He turned up at our first official gig and was too big to get rid of. And the rest as they say was history or was that hysterical.
Did you always want to be a singer?
It is all that has ever meant anything to me. Little bloke,no good at sport etc, bad at school, but big voice and confidence — not a really hard equation really.
Who are your musical influences and why?
I think my two main musical influences are a guy called Martin Apte who was the guitar player in my high school band and a very dear old friend of mine called Bohdan Polanski who was a guy who was a few years older than us, but, who encouraged and mentored in a most wonderful and enthusiastic way.
Outside that I wanted a band that sounded like a cross between Ian Hunter and Graham Parker.
What is your favourite memory of the band?
Just being in it. ( you had to be there!!!!!)
What is your favourite Moving Pictures song to perform?
That kinda changes a lot. It was so long ago. But I think Wings…. Sisters of Mercy…. Cherie….
What is your songwriting process? Music or lyric first?
I don’t really have a process ( that used to drive them crazy in America). Sometimes words, next time chords or melody or a riff. Sometimes the song is written in 3 or 5 minutes sometimes it may take 20 years .
Which song do you wish you had written and why?
“Love minus zero/no limit” by Bob Dylan ….. well, Just because it is a song of perfect abstract beauty.
Last tour you said you had to relearn the songs. Do you have to relearn them this time around?
A lot of practice has been going on in my house. I think my neighbours are putting together a petition to get rid of me. ( It’s a bit like the villagers with pitch forks in a Frankenstien movie)
Have you been writing or performing since the last incarnation of Moving Pictures?
I always write.. thats what I do.. It’s not a tap you can turn off.
I have a little band called “The interpreters ” That plays the odd gig (very odd really)
We play a kinda weird Gumbo of swampy soul… Dr John etc just 3 guys no bass, no drums. 2 guitars and piano.
It’s fun and no pressure. And I get to sing.
Any chance of a new Moving Pictures album?
Chance would be a fine thing….. Who knows … all our lives have moved along they’re own paths.
Do you cringe in pain as much as I do at the awful insurance ads?
The Advantage of living in London is that I have NO idea……
See you all soon Alex (wol) Smith
You can catch Moving Pictures and relive your own days of innocence at the following venues:
Lizottes, Newcastle – Saturday 23 July and Sunday 24 July – tickets on sale now.
Palais Theatre, Melbourne – Friday 29 July – tickets available through Ticketmaster
State Theatre, Sydney – Saturday 30 July – tickets available through Ticketmaster
Tickets on sale Monday 16 May. Ticketmaster pre-sale starts Tuesday 10 May.
I’ll be at the State Theatre on 30 July. Who else is going?